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St Andrew, Brigstock, Northamptonshire

(52°27′23″N, 0°36′27″W)
SP 947 852
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Northamptonshire
now Northamptonshire
medieval St Andrew
now St Andrew
  • Ron Baxter

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Brigstock is toward the N of the county, 6 miles NE of Kettering. It is a substantial village lying in the valley of Harper's Brook, a tributary of the river Nene. The settlement is an ancient one, and a good deal of Roman material has been found around the village. It is within Rockingham forest; a royal hunting ground created by William I, but by no means entirely wooded even then. The church is in the centre of the village, alongside the brook. St Andrew's has a tall 11thc. nave with a blocked window remaining in the N wall. N and S aisles have been added, with three-bay arcades; the two western bays of the N arcade 12thc., the E bay and the entire S arcade are 14thc. The S doorway is of c.1200, under a Perpendicular porch. The chancel arch is tall and Perpendicular, but the chancel itself has a N chapel with a two-bay 13thc. arcade and a S chapel now housing the organ. The N chapel contains the tomb of Robert Vernon, first Baron Lyveden (d.1873) with a marble effigy. The nave aisles extend westward alongside the tower, and it is this for which the church is known. The tower arch is tall and round-headed; the tower originally short and of rubble with long-and-short quoins. There is a rough round-headed window high on the N face. A round stair turret is attached to the W wall, entered from within by a triangular-headed doorway. A completely plain round-headed arch, probably 12thc., links the tower and the N aisle extension. To the 11thc. tower has been added a 14thc. storey of ashlar and a broach spire with three rows of lucarnes. The church was restored by Carpenter (1876-77). The tower arch is described here, although it is probably pre-Conquest. Also recorded are the 12thc. parts of the N arcade and the S doorway.


Brigstock was a royal estate in 1086, with a priest. The church was owned by Regenbald the priest, a member of the household of Edward the Confessor and subsequently William I. In 1133 Henry I granted the entire holding of Regenbald, including Brigstock and its chapel of ease at Stanion to Cirencester as its foundation endowment. Brigstock remained a possession of Cirencester until the Dissolution. Administratively Brigstock was important throughout the Middle Ages; Geddington, Islip, Stanion, Slipton, Little Oakley and possibly Benefield were all dependencies at various times.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches



Fernie finds conflicting dating evidence for the early work here, and his suggestion that it belongs to the first half of the 11thc. may be a compromise solution. Pevsner compares the tower arch to Wittering (Hunts), which is not too far away, and dates it late 10thc. or 11thc. The Taylors have suggested an early Saxon date (c. 600-950) for the oldest work, including the lower parts of the tower and what survives of the nave walls, and that the upper part of the Anglo-Saxon tower and the W turret are later (c. 950-1100). RCHME disagrees, preferring to see the Anglo-Saxon work as a single campaign of the late 10thc. or early 11thc. The N arcade is late 12thc. and the S doorway c.1200, an opinion shared by Pevsner, RCHME and the present author.

RCHME Report, uncatalogued.
Victoria County History: Gloucestershire, II (1907), 79-84 (on Cirencester Abbey).
J. Bridges, The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire, (Compiled from the manuscript collections of the late learned antiquary J.Bridges, Esq., by the Rev. Peter Whalley). Oxford 1791.
C. E. Keyser, 'Notes on the architecture of the churches of Stanion and Brigstock', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 2nd ser. XXVI, 1920, 1-21.
L. G. Davies, Historical Guide to the Church and Village of Brigstock. Rev. R. D. Howe 1999.
E. C. Fernie, The Architecture of the Anglo-Saxons. London 1983, 138, 178.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. B. Cherry 1973, 122-23.
H. M. and J. Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture. Cambridge, I, 1965, 100-05.